Screening of Lions, Bones and Bullets in South African Parliament
Five political parties giving a thumbs up for Lions, Bones & Bullets, along with one of the filmmakers Jasmine Duthie.

The Lions, Bones & Bullets film screening at the South African parliamentin Cape Town on Tuesday this week was a hugely valuable and informative experience for MP's, high-profile political guests, the filmmakers and conservation organisations present. 

Following the screening, the Department of Agriculture was among those raising insightful and sometimes emotional questions.  The film screening was jointly organised by Honourable MP Narend Singh of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Conservation Action Trust and was supported by international animal welfare organisations.

Honourable MP Narend Singh of the IFP called on the MP's present, “we need to ask the right questions, and it is only you that can help us ask these questions.” 

ANC MP Phillip Matsapole Pogiso Modise said after watching the film, "We must facilitate a session with Environment and Agriculture but not only to speak about lions, we must be holistic. We must fast-track that process as I'm sure we can develop common strategies on how best we do it. Even if it means we must have a program and visit some of these areas. This is a well-planned, well-orchestrated and well-implemented syndicate. We need to stop it. The sooner we do that, the better. Not only for our interests but for the preservation of our social, economic, cultural and traditional values and for generations to come. So we're happy to be here, and thank you very much." He further discussed his intention to fast-track the policy changes needed to conserve wildlife with the film's director Anton Leach.

The panel discussion, and question and answer session following the film screening raised interesting dialogues directly with lawmakers, such as this call for support from MP Cheryl Phillips from the Democratic Alliance, who stated, “It was heart-wrenching. My question is about employment. What we saw with that gentleman there (in the film) he said, ‘a job, he’d do anything for a job.’ As politicians, we see that almost every single day. If we could have a really good breakdown of the farm's profits versus how much we could earn in a more sustainable economy, it would really help those of us who are fighting to get this horrendous industry banned.” The animal welfare organisations forming the panel discussion agreed that they would support this. 

MP Tamarin Breedt, who serves on the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, stated, “I would really like to say thank you for hosting this Francis, Narend and to Anton and the filmmakers and everyone who was part of it, it was very insightful. Hearing all of this, I don’t think we’ll have time tonight to touch on all of the questions because it’s such an intricate thing in terms of policy matters.”

MP Mr David William Bryant, who serves on the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, stated, “That’s a documentary that a lot of people have to see; I think all South Africans need to see that and learn from it. I don’t think that there’s a lack of goodwill amongst politicians, but there's a lack of know-how and understanding of the strategy of how to take this forward. The working group, the ministerial task team, is going to be a very important aspect of this going forward. My question to you, do you see a realistic possibility of finding some kind of consensus of a way forward and what then happens to all those lions that are currently sitting in captivity on these abhorrent farms?

In his recorded introduction, the film's protagonist, author Richard Peirce, said he believes South Africa has a special responsibility as a key guardian of many of the world's iconic species. 

The president's office had the courtesy of replying to his invitation that he would not be in Cape Town at the time as he was only virtually attending the day’s earlier questions to the president session. Minister Barbara Creecy also sent her apologies for not being able to attend, but she had to leave for Johannesburg immediately following the earlier session.

To complement the South African parliamentary film screening, the film's eight-minute Conference Cut is now viewable for seven days. This is a convenient way for interested parties, journalists and lawmakers to get a glimpse of the film's findings.


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